- Kristin O’Connell
With a profusion of new cafes cropping up to complement Kuala Lumpur’s vibrant dining scene, locals and visitors alike have become increasingly spoilt for choice when it comes to brunching. Here are 10 of the most remarkable venues.
Since opening in December 2012, Yeast Bistronomy has attracted some of Malaysia’s highest profile clientele, testament to the quality of the food and the establishment’s pork-free status. The bistro was designed in the style of classic Parisian restaurants with authentic food to match. Founder Christophe Chatron-Michaud and executive chef Frank Denis Ruidavet share history at various Michelin-starred restaurants in France and abroad. The high standards at Yeast are carried through to the staff’s extensive knowledge of the menu, a rarity in Malaysia. A wide variety of egg dishes tempt the palate in addition to the array of freshly baked pastries and natural yeast bread on offer. A breakfast standout is the baked eggs with smoked duck and gruyère. The industry veterans at Yeast are bringing a true taste of France to diners in Malaysia, and doing so with flair.
Yeast Bistronomy, 24G Jalan Telawi 2, Bangsar, Kuala Lumpur +60 3 2282 0118
Artisan Roast Coffee
Artisan Roast Coffee is no newcomer, having previously been named Time Out KL’s top coffee pick. Husband and wife team Michael and Amirah have created a rustic space, taking décor inspiration from their family home and London’s Kaffeine. Blending art as well as coffee, the walls feature an ethnic Sarawak Indian pictured demurely sipping espresso among murals by Indonesian street artist Sari Sartje. ARC also exhibits local artists. Proprietor Michael’s stint in Scotland reveals itself in the brunch favorite. Similar to French toast, the hearty treat is coated in rolled oats for satisfyingly crisp results. This makes for perfect recovery food the morning after exploring KL’s nightlife. Ethically minded gastronomes will appreciate the effort Artisan Roast goes to sourcing free-range eggs, which can be difficult to find in Malaysia.
Adrian Loo – Enjoy a perfect cup of coffee in this trendy cafe / 2:30
This cafe has impressed critics since it opened mid-2013 in Bangsar, KL’s unofficial and highly competitive all-day breakfast capital. Designed by Lukas Lim, the home-style interior displays works by local artists and photographers. Featured artists are selected by the owners, who are keen to support the local scene. Diners nestle among ferns on the back terrace to go about the difficult task of selecting from the extensive brunch offerings. The options include delectable salt beef hash and baked brioche French toast. A bar overlooking the open kitchen provides inquisitive patrons with a breakfast preview. Nutmeg is a collaborative effort, with owners and chefs working together to create refined Western cuisine with a distinctive Malaysian stamp. Nutmeg proudly makes its brioche, sausages, gravadlax, salt beef, baked beans, chili sauce, pastries and cakes in house.
Garage 51 lives up to its name. The tasteful industrial space brings together classic 50s motifs with enameled steel drums and other paraphernalia presumably left over from the venue’s former life as a garage. Natural light floods into the spacious interior through glass paneling installed during renovations. Meanwhile, the building exterior has been converted into an oversized canvas, displaying graffiti by local artist Kenzy.is.Noyz. A shipping container is perched above the kitchen, providing a more secluded seating option. The Kar brothers, who conceived the cafe on the heels of their highly successful first venture, CoffeeSociété, are both Specialty Coffee Association of Europe certified and cut their teeth in cafe capital Melbourne, Australia. Owner Kar Heng recommends the Awesome Garage Breakfast, an eclectic combination of baked macaroni, smoked chicken, hash brown, eggs, hollandaise and a bagel.
With stunning panoramic views of KL, including the iconic Petronas Towers, THIRTY8 offers a scenic dining experience with a dramatic sense of space. Adding to the effect are four mixed media works from established Malaysian artist Ahmad Shukri Mohamed’s Diamond Life series. While Tommy Franssila’s kitchen produces superb cuisine every day of the week, the THIRTY8 Sunday Brunch is worth waiting for. The weekly-changing buffet keeps things fresh for regulars. Guests can expect to see fresh prawns and oysters alongside cooked-to-order eggs, freshly baked breads, pastries and desserts. Chefs are on hand serving the week’s Chinese, Japanese and Western specialties straight to the table and discussing the menu with diners. Those looking for an extra dollop of luxury can top it all off with a glass of Veuve Clicquot.
THIRTY8, Level 38, Grand Hyatt Kuala Lumpur, 12 Jalan Pinang, Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia, +60 3 2182 1234 extension 2340
Home to Malaysia Barista Champion 2013 Jason Loo, there’s no question that Red Beanbag takes its coffee seriously. But the friendly staff avoid pretensions. Head chef Muhammad Fhaizal proudly serves up creative breakfast dishes that put quality local produce center stage. Lamb Shakshuka is a menu highlight, with sumptuous lamb chunks simmered in a rich tomato stew and served with roti canai. Western fare includes pancakes with maple syrup and baked eggs among other comforting options. Located inside Publika Gallery, the Red Beanbag is situated next to an indoor performance space and features views of the royal palace from its first floor vantage point. Visitors can count on cultural events year-round, including innovative dance, visual arts and literature festivals.
Red Beanbag, A4-1-08, Solaris Dutamas, Jalan Dutamas 1, Kuala Lumpur +60 3 6211 5116
For those who want a side of adventure with their morning start, it’s hard to go past KL’s vibrant and bustling markets. While Petaling Street is better known to travelers, Imbi Market, formally known as Pasar Baru Bukit Bintang, offers an authentic dining experience and unsurpassed people watching. Adventurous diners reap just rewards for trying something new at Imbi. Experience the incredible variety of Malaysian cuisine, with vendors offering too many local favorites to sample in just one visit: kopitiam, crispy popiah, laksa, congee, wanton, nasi lemak, noodles, egg tarts and more are on offer. After breakfast, drop in to the produce section and gather fresh fruits for an afternoon snack. Imbi Market is slated for relocation, with the surrounding area transitioning into a financial district. Get in before the charm of the original location is lost to development. Open 6:30 a.m. until just after midday Tuesday to Sunday, most hawkers are up and running by 8:30 a.m.
Imbi Market, Pasar Rakyat, 8 Jalan Melati, Pudu, Kuala Lumpur
Pickle & Fig
Pickle & Fig is riding the wave of the emerging independent cafe scene in KL. Its acclaimed Rotkraut Pastrami Panini lives up to the hype with perfectly balanced salted beef, sweet tangy rotkraut and melted mozzarella. Fresh smoothies are all natural, made to order without a fruit concentrate in sight. Such commitment to quality landed Pickle & Fig a spot on the Time Out KL Food Awards ‘Best Healthy Eats’ list in 2013. Owners Pang and Ken went DIY to create the interior, recycling old pallets for seating and centering design choices around a ‘reusable and communal’ theme. A wall-sized chalkboard allows visitors to leave their mark, providing a colorful contrast to the polished concrete surfaces and timber furnishings. Pang and Ken encourage their guests to create the perfect ‘selfie’ moment while indulging in a leisurely breakfast.
Aiming to please Kuala Lumpur’s increasing group of health-conscious diners, BreadFruits promotes ‘real’ food and helps to develop patrons’ understanding of healthy eating choices. Set up as a dual cafe and grocery, the walls are adorned with images that illustrate fruit in all its forms from farm to market. For those less inclined to healthful pursuits, try the Roasted Banana Bacon French Toast. BreadFruits’ fast rise to the top sometimes means a short wait for brunch to arrive, but then, as the saying goes, good things come to those who wait.
BreadFruits, 17, Jalan 26/70a, Desa Sri Hartamas, Kuala Lumpur +60 3 6201 0090 or +60 1 7671 0183
Carefully selected regional beans are Coffee Amo’s specialty. But don’t be concerned that this cafe takes its thoughtfully crafted beverages too seriously. The venue has quickly built a reputation for its popular 3D latte art, featuring an array of frothy animals cute enough to eat. While Amo focuses on providing the ideal caffeine fix, the homemade cheesecake is a sweet tooth’s perfect start to the day. The menu also includes brunch staples such as waffles, sandwiches and pies. Located in historic Chinatown, the site’s proximity to regular cultural festivals was part of its appeal for owners Ben and Kong.
Coffee Amo, 54, First Floor, Jalan Sultan, Kuala Lumpur +60 3 2857 2677